The most intriguing function of the human brain is to generate an inner world of feeling: emotions. Greenfield shows how both positive and negative emotions are with us all the time, but varying in degree. At the extreme she suggests that these entail an abrogation of a sense of self, the individual mind. She looks at what might actually be happening in the brain when you 'lose your mind', 'blow your mind' or 'let yourself go'.
Channel 4 News' Jon Snow chairs as freedom, practicality and pleasure are set against pollution, asthma, global warming and terrifying geopolitics. Will post-petrol tech save the day? Speakers include Jeremy Leggett of SolarCentury, Vijay Vaitheeswaran of The Economist and Edmund King, Executive Director, RAC Foundation.
The global marketplace is built on the notion of a stable supply of cheap oil and gas. But that bedrock is about to crumble. As geologists, civil servants and the oil industry knows, the end of oil is a lot closer than we think. Leggett is Chief Executive of Solarcentury.
Folktales, stories and excerpts from a naturalist's journal where creation myths, recipes, and the most stunning illustrations lace Gibson's own graceful and erudite essays telling of the pleasure, fear, confusion, or hope that birds inspire, and their imperiled place in nature.
The pre-eminent astronomers and cosmologists discuss how recent developments in cosmology and particle physics have led to the remarkable realization that our universe – rather than being unique – could be just one of many universes. This multiverse proposal may explain the fine-tunings which appear necessary for the emergence of life, as well as the origin of our universe. Chaired by science broadcaster Quentin Cooper.
Scientists are professional pessimists, always dubious about what they find. Believers, in contrast, are certain: full of joy that their own Big Book contains the truth. The geneticist talks about science and faith as conflicting explanations of what we are; and how biology, in the end, is blind.
Compared to the rabbit, for whom
a single act of coitus has a 90% chance of creating a litter of up to
12 kittens, humans are very infertile animals. Here in the UK the
average chance of conception is about 18% per month. The fertility
expert examines the human condition.
After Darwin, Utopia evolved. From Eden to Erewhon, society changed but people stayed much the same. The geneticist argues that the agents of evolution have lost their power and that—whatever happens to society— humans are stuck with what we are.
Elizabeth Pisani describes how politics, ideology—and ten billion dollars a year—have bulldozed through scientific evidence and common sense and needlessly failed to fight the AIDS pandemic that has infected 70 million people worldwide. Chaired by Rachel Holmes.
Psychologist Gary Marcus shows how imperfect and ill-adapted our brains really are from their hominid origins. We are prone to rages, addictions and other habits that limit our capacity for rational action in every sphere, from food to politics.
Oxford astronomer Joseph Silk analyses the Big Bang from the frontiers of technology, and tells of supernovae, dark matter, dark energy, curved spacetime, colliding galaxies, and supermassive black holes.